Community water fluoridation (CWF) was introduced to Canada in Brantford Ontario in 1945. Today CWF rates vary sharply across Canada. For example, in Ontario, 71% of water systems are fluoridated, while here in British Columbia, 1.2 % of water systems are fluoridated. In 2017, 38.7% of Canadian water was fluoridated.
According to Health Canada, Community Water Fluoridation (CWF) is the most cost effective and equitable method to deliver fluoride to the population despite varying social determinants of health including age, education, income, and access to professional dental care. Health Canada also states that community water fluoridation is associated with a 25% – 30% reduction in tooth decay.
Despite the stated benefits to dental health, evidence of potential health risks from fluoride has resulted in several communities across Canada discontinuing CWF. These potential health risks include cancer, bone disease, neurological damage, and fluorosis, which causes tooth discolouration.
While the trend has been discontinuation, Windsor Ontario made the national news last month when city council voted in favour of reintroducing fluoride to the community water supply. Douglas Hayes, who responded to the vote on behalf of the Council of Canadians, Windsor Essex Chapter stated “The reason I’m disappointed is what they’re adding to our drinking water is a hydrofluorosilicic acid, which a toxic chemical from the fertilizer industry and contains all sorts of toxic substances like lead, some cadmium, some mercury and other contaminants. Now all those contaminants are going into our water system.”
Could we be at the starting gate of a national trend? We hope not, but if we are, there are plenty of very good reasons to oppose it. Here are four of the Top Ten Reasons to Oppose Water Fluoridation from the International Academy of Oral Medicine and Toxicology. To view the entire list, visit https://iaomt.org/top-ten-reasons-oppose-water-fluoridation/
- First and most importantly – this is an informed consent issue. It is a violation of the individual’s right to informed consent to medication. One cannot opt out of the community water system to avoid a medication, with potential health risks, that he or she has not consented to.
- Fluoride is not an essential nutrient and is not a required component for human growth and development. Actually, fluoride has been identified as one of 12 industrial chemicals known to cause developmental neurotoxicity in human beings.
- Hundreds of research studies over the past several decades have demonstrated fluoride’s potential harm to human health, even at levels of exposure deemed as safe. Fluoride exposure has been linked to Alzheimer’s disease, cancer, diabetes, heart disease, and infertility.
- We are now exposed to fluoride from a variety of sources which have been introduced to the market since fluoridation began in the 1940s. Fluoride is now present in water, dental products, pesticides, fluoride supplements and many prescription drugs, including antidepressants. There is no reliable data that indicated exactly how much fluoride the average person is consuming from these sources and the potential for toxicity has increased. In fact, according to 2010 data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), 23% of Americans aged 6-49 and 41% of children aged 12-15 exhibit fluorosis to some degree. This represents an increase of 400% from 60 years ago.